World’s oldest person dies: Former Japanese postman was the last living man to have been born in the 1800s
The last living man to have been born in the 19th century has died at the age of 116.
Jiroemon Kimura, who was born on April 19, 1897, was not only the world’s oldest person but also the world’s oldest ever living man.
The former postman died in his hospital bed in Kyotango, Japan where he had been undergoing treatment for pneumonia.
Mr Kimura had been officially recognised by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person and the oldest man ever.
What an innings: Jiroemon Kimura, the world’s oldest person and the oldest ever man is pictured with one of his 15 great-great-grandchildren in Kyotango, western Japan, where he died today
According to Guinness, Mr Kimura, a former postman, was the first man in history to have lived to 116 years old.
He is survived by seven children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 15 great-great-grandchildren, Japanese media said.
The oldest living man is officially 111-year-old American James McCoubrey, who was born on September 13, 1901.
However a great-grandfather living in Britain has disputed this claiming he is 113.
Ghahreman Pardis’s Iranian birth certificate says he was born on November 2, 1903, making him 109 but his family say his papers were doctored twice so he could dodge national service.
They say he was actually born in 1899, which makes him 113 years and 69 days old.
His true age became masked when Mr Pardis faced conscription as a teenager in Turkey where he was as a leading boxer, his relatives claim.
Government chiefs wanted to keep the sporting champion so they altered his passport to show his birthday as two years later – in 1901 – ensuring he would not be drafted.
Then during his 20s Mr Pardis moved to Iran where he became a sports coach and key figure building sports facilities in the country.
Iranian officials were so impressed with his role in the country they too altered his date of birth by two years so he could avoid joining the army.
The death of Mr Kiruma comes just a few days after that of a woman in China who claimed to be 127, which would have made her the real record holder by a wide margin.
Luo Meizhen lived in Bama county in China’s Guangxi region’s – an area famous for the longevity of its residents.
Her ID card stated she was born in 1885, but she does not have a birth certificate to prove this so her claim was never officially recognised.
Mr Pardis claims his passport was doctored to show that he was younger so he could avoid national service
If Ms Luo was truly 127, it would make her the oldest person ever to have lived, beating Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 aged 122.
Mr Kimura became the oldest man ever on Dec. 28, 2012, at the age of 115 years, 253 days, breaking the record set by Christian Mortensen, a Danish immigrant to the United States, whose life spanned from 1882-1998.
The title of oldest living person is now held by another Japanese person, 115-year-old Misao Okawa, of Osaka.
Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records said: ‘Jiroemon Kimura was an exceptional person.
‘As the only man to have ever lived for 116 years — and the oldest man whose age has been fully authenticated — he has a truly special place in world history.’
Kyotango officials said Mr Kimura’s funeral would be held Friday.
The town’s mayor Mayor Yasushi Nakayamasaid: ‘Mr Kimura was and will always be a treasure to our town, to our country and to our world.’
On his 115th birthday, Mr Kimura had attributed his longevity to getting out in the sunlight.
‘I am always looking up towards the sky. That is how I am,’
According to local media, Kimura ate a three-meal-a-day diet of rice, pumpkins and sweet potatoes.
He reportedly did not smoke and said he only ate until he felt 80 per cent full.
According to one town official his motto in life was ‘to eat light and live long’.
He celebrated his 116th birthday on April 19 by watching a video message of congratulations from Japan’s prime minister.
Challenger: Mr Kimura’s death comes just days after that of Chinese woman Luo Meizhen (left) who claimed to be 127. His death means 115-year-old Tomohito Okada from Osaka, Japan is now the world’s oldest person
When he was born back in 1897, Japan was coming to the end of its feudal period which saw the final days of the Samurai warrior class and the birth of a modern imperialist state.
When Japan entered WWI on the side of the British in 1915 he was already 18 years old, and when it allied itself with Germany in 1940 at the start of WWII he was already pushing on 43.
When the U.S. dropped the bomb on Hiroshima he was 48 but he resumed work as a postman at the end of the war and went on to live for another 68 years.
Japan has more than 50,000 centenarians, 2011 government data showed, reinforcing its reputation for longevity.